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I haven't been here for a while but have an urge to start a project I've been thinking about.  I have several cheap concertinas, including a cheap, common, Stagi/Bastari 20 button Anglo that had the average sticking buttons problem when I bought it off of E-bay.  I've been wondering if I could do anything to improve the design and the way that it plays.  I have access to a very nice wood shop and have done some woodworking in my spare time, including some woodcarving.  I also have access to a jewelry shop where I work with and cast metal and I have plenty of jewelry files, saws, and shaping equipment.  Last, but not least, I have access to a nice CNC laser and I've already drawn up a computer drawing for an alternate cover for the 20 button.  I'm thinking my first step at learning about concertina work should be replacing the plywood covers with some nice hardwood.  Maybe maple or walnut.  Cherry if I can find a big enough piece in the scrap bin.

 

Does anyone have any suggestions?

 

Incidently, when I first started coming here I was at first overjoyed to find that I lived near Mr. Herrington in Rowlett, TX, but then saddened to find he had passed away a few months before my first visit to this site.  He sounds like a great guy and I would have loved to have met him.

 

Terrence in Terrell, TX

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You could maybe make a traditional English-style riveted lever action for it and bush the end holes. That would be a big improvement in playability. You'd need to make/buy new buttons with cross holes in them.

 

I recommend not cutting ends from solid wood - they often crack in the short grain areas. Better to laminate your own plywood by veneering a board with the veneer grain running perpendicular to the core grain.

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Thanks for that tip about not using solid wood for the ends.  Maybe I'll try some nice maple plywood.

 

And yes, I'd like to experiment with something to speed up the action.  I have some delrin to turn some buttons and could probably try aluminum, brass, and bronze.  Right now someone is getting a wood I'm curious about, Osage Orange (variously known in the U.S. as horse-apple, hedge apple, or bois d'arc).  It's extremely hard and springy wood that is a very bright yellow color, but cracks unless dried carefully.

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Send a PM to Bob Tedrow. He used to specialize in “Hot-Rodding” Stagis and Bastaris (in addition to building his own instruments). Maybe he has some information he can send you about what he was doing. If you’re real industrious, you might even be able to find descriptions of it he’s posted on these forums. His website might also help.

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13 hours ago, Terrence said:

Thanks for that tip about not using solid wood for the ends.  Maybe I'll try some nice maple plywood.

 

And yes, I'd like to experiment with something to speed up the action.  I have some delrin to turn some buttons and could probably try aluminum, brass, and bronze.  Right now someone is getting a wood I'm curious about, Osage Orange (variously known in the U.S. as horse-apple, hedge apple, or bois d'arc).  It's extremely hard and springy wood that is a very bright yellow color, but cracks unless dried carefully.

It's also very heavy and unless used as a veneer would add significant weight.  Has anyone used Burl of any species?

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8 hours ago, wunks said:

It's also very heavy and unless used as a veneer would add significant weight.  Has anyone used Burl of any species?

Tried some burl white oak, but not for a concertina for woodcarving.  Terribly chippy.

 

If I can get Osage orange I would be trying to use it as buttons.

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Maple,  whether soft or hard can have beautiful figure  with great stability. I have a fiddle with a phenomenal two piece book matched bird's eye  back with no cracks or flaws at all.

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Posted (edited)

I used a fir burr veneer on my first instrument and it was rather tricky to work with and finish - it kept shrinking back unevenly and leaving a rough surface. I have some more of that sort of veneer in stock but it has a lot of little splits and holes in it that would need filling somehow. My first attempt at working with walnut burr veneer was a disaster and I switched to using a plain walnut veneer instead. I'm about to make some replacement ends for a Wheatstone English with the same walnut veneer, then my next new instrument is going to have a rippled maple veneer.

 

I suspect the osage orange could work fine for buttons as long as it's properly dried and has straight grain. I would be tempted to soak them in boiled linseed oil or similar to help seal them. Aluminium can work OK. Solid brass or bronze would be a bit heavy - vintage instruments often use hollow metal buttons to reduce weight.

Edited by alex_holden

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On 8/6/2018 at 9:08 PM, David Barnert said:

Send a PM to Bob Tedrow. He used to specialize in “Hot-Rodding” Stagis and Bastaris (in addition to building his own instruments). Maybe he has some information he can send you about what he was doing. If you’re real industrious, you might even be able to find descriptions of it he’s posted on these forums. His website might also help.

 

On 8/7/2018 at 4:12 AM, Takayuki YAGI said:

Just FYI, there were old webpages by Bob Tedrow:  How to upgrade and hot rod an Italian concertina (archive.org).

 

I knew I’d seen that stuff somewhere before!

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On 8/6/2018 at 5:35 PM, Terrence said:

Thanks for that tip about not using solid wood for the ends.  Maybe I'll try some nice maple plywood.

 

And yes, I'd like to experiment with something to speed up the action.  I have some delrin to turn some buttons and could probably try aluminum, brass, and bronze.  Right now someone is getting a wood I'm curious about, Osage Orange (variously known in the U.S. as horse-apple, hedge apple, or bois d'arc).  It's extremely hard and springy wood that is a very bright yellow color, but cracks unless dried carefully.

Osage Orange starts bright yellow, but eventually oxidizes to a deep warm brown after going through a less appetizing olive phase.  I have made a number of beautiful bokken ( Japanese wooden swords ) from it.  For something Button size, I wouldn’t worry about cracking.  Any piece you get will leave plenty of room for good turning stock.  

 

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On 7/30/2018 at 7:54 AM, alex_holden said:

I recommend not cutting ends from solid wood - they often crack in the short grain areas. Better to laminate your own plywood by veneering a board with the veneer grain running perpendicular to the core grain.

 

Alex

I.m just browsing through some old posts and noticed this one from you about not using solid wood, but veneered plywood.

 

two questions spring to mind:

- does using plywood not affect the sound quality - for example, a concert guitar is made from the best quality tonewood, not ply.

- who sells plywood of the required quality and thickness? I guess you use a specialist supplier?

 

Rod

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Hi Rod,

 

Alex and others are way more knowledgeable re construction of concertinas - but apart from that it can be said that basically the tone of the concertina is not generated by vibration and resonance but cutting the air flow. So the choice of wood asf. may be of some, but not decisive importance.

 

Best wishes - 🐺

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2 minutes ago, Rod Pearce said:

I.m just browsing through some old posts and noticed this one from you about not using solid wood, but veneered plywood.

 

two questions spring to mind:

- does using plywood not affect the sound quality - for example, a concert guitar is made from the best quality tonewood, not ply.

- who sells plywood of the required quality and thickness? I guess you use a specialist supplier?

 

Hi Rod, it may have a slight effect but for end plates I suspect it will be pretty small. The sound production mechanism is very different for a concertina than a guitar.

 

I'm no longer using commercial plywood, I instead make a 2.5mm thick solid sycamore board and glue commercial 0.6mm veneer to both sides of it, with the grain of the veneer at right angles to that of the core. I'm using West System epoxy as the glue. The bottom veneer is a cheap hardwood (currently using beech). The result is much harder and denser than birch ply. It makes a solid 'tap' sound rather than a dull thud when you knock on it - not exactly a tonewood, but not totally dead either.

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